Short answer: yes. But don’t get those hopes very high.
Since virtual reality has come to the masses via PSVR and smartphone headsets, everyone is wondering about the future of this technology. What games will go VR? When will it become more affordable? Will other consoles get it?
The Nintendo Switch is the next big console, ready to hit shelves on March 3rd. Some detailed patents that surfaced in December showed a VR headset for the Switch, sparking lots of curiosity and criticism. Nintendo has refrained from confirming a VR accessory for the Switch, but lots of executives have said they’re interested in the technology.
Most recently, Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima commented on Switch virtual reality in an interview with TIME.
The interviewer asked, “Is the launch version of Switch powerful enough to support [virtual reality]?”
“The very simple answer is yes. We’ve said this before, and I feel like we’re saying it a lot, but we are interested and doing research into this field. The question, of course, is ‘What is the best way to bring virtual reality to our customers as a form of entertainment?’ Not just, ‘Hey, look! It’s realistic!’ or whatever, but what is the best way to use this technology to bring something fun to our consumer base? We are definitely looking at that.”
Can Nintendo really make VR work on the low res Switch?
It’s nice to see Nintendo is taking its time to thoughtfully develop its VR software, rather than releasing it as soon as possible to get consumers to gobble it up. Hopefully when it releases, we’ll see the fruits of Nintendo’s labor in an enjoyable virtual reality experience. But players are already wondering if that is possible with the Switch.
According to the patent (pictured above), the Switch tablet would slide into the VR headset, which would be strapped in front of the player’s eyes. The concept is similar to current smart phone headsets, albeit bulkier, and it’s simple enough. However, people are asking how the Switch could run entertaining virtual reality from such a low resolution.
In portable mode, the game tablet runs in 720p and 60fps at its maximum. That alone sounds like subpar VR, but it gets even worse when you realize Breath of the Wild, the Switch’s premier title, can only run at 30fps.
The low resolution made me very skeptical as well, but then I thought about the games Nintendo would likely bring to VR.
Of course, Breath of the Wild is a top contender. There’s also Super Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Splatoon 2, and Yooka-Laylee, among others. All these games are presented in beautiful 3D worlds, but their art styles are still very stylized, as is the Nintendo way. Maybe these games would actually look great in 720p VR. Maybe.
Or maybe Nintendo will hold off on VR until the Switch’s successor can do the whole hybrid console thing in much higher definition. Either way, I can’t wait to see where virtual reality is headed.
What do you think about Switch virtual reality? Would it be a crappy low res experience, or would the stylized graphics make it work? Let us know in the comments.
Switch being a VR machine would make it a day one for me. I am talking no interest at all to %100 getting it. It has the motion controls already built in so the control would be more refined than anything else we have played with.
This would work.
Also the RumbleHD feature is just made to be used in VR!
Technically the Switch is capable of 1080p, so I suspect the VR addon might have it’s own built in 1080p screen and a built in battery that is more powerful to enable the full power of the Switch or allow it to be plugged in somehow.
Saying that, I think it could work with it’s current screen with highly stylised and basic graphics that Nintendo does best. Framerate is more important than resolution anyway.
More important than both of those is over all comfort, hopefully they nail that as current VR isn’t a good experience after an hour or so, they are just too hot and restrictive on the face!
I agree to an extent. But based off my limited experience with VR, dosn’t a VR headset effectively halve the display panel’s resolution? Like, the image is doubled on the screen then half the screen goes to each eye, turning a 720p image into 360p one.
Correct me if I’m wrong tho.
(Zelda, and Mario Kart in VR tho, hell yeah!)
Kind of but not really, a 1280×720 screen halved is 640×720p. I think Nintendo’s simple yet lovely art styles lend themselves very well to a lower resolution. The best games I’ve played in VR have been Unity based games with very cutesy art styles like Job Simulator and Diner Duo.
Another thing. if the VR accessory allows the Switch to use it’s full power then it could use supersampling to achieve a crisper picture.
Here is a noble Idea, the PSVR (Sony’s VR) runs on the processing power of the PS4 and has it’s OWN screen! Why is it that no one has realized that Nintendo may do the EXACT SAME THING!
Remember the “Graphics Amplifier”
Nop. Sorry but this is simply a big NOUP from the beginning.
Why you could say that? Well, if 720p doesn’t sound like the WORST VR device out there (the pixels will be huuuge), it can’t stand 720p at 60fps. Now playing at 60fps sucks in VR.
So, are Nintendo going to use 60fps with 720p, or a bigger resolution, keeping the 60fps with a Tegra Chip? (NOP)
Are Nintendo going to launch a separate device with more Graphics power to have a better screen? Yeah that will be maybe the next generation console, but this time is just a smoke screen to make more people buy the Switch.